Bipolar and Mental Illnesses are written about here. Written by a bipolar person themselves.

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What Is Bipolar II Disorder?

What Is Bipolar II Disorder?


“Bipolar II disorder (pronounced “bipolar two”) is a form of mental illness. Bipolar II is similar to bipolar I disorder, with moods cycling between high and low over time.”


“However, in bipolar II disorder, the “up” moods never reach full-blown mania. The less-intense elevated moods in bipolar II disorder are called hypomanic episodes, or hypomania.”

“A person affected by bipolar II disorder has had at least one hypomanic episode in his or her life. Most people with bipolar II disorder suffer more often from episodes of depression. This is where the term “manic depression” comes from.”

“In between episodes of hypomania and depression, many people with bipolar II disorder typically live normal lives.”


*Who Is at Risk for Bipolar II Disorder?

“Virtually anyone can develop bipolar II disorder. About 2.5% of the U.S. population suffers from some form of bipolar disorder – nearly 6 million people.”



“Most people are in their teens or early 20s when symptoms of bipolar disorder first start. Nearly everyone with bipolar II disorder develops it before age 50. People with an immediate family member who has bipolar are at higher risk.”


*What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar II Disorder?

“During a hypomanic episode, elevated mood can manifest itself as either euphoria (feeling “high”) or as irritability.”

Symptoms during hypomanic episodes include:

“Flying suddenly from one idea to the next.”


“Having exaggerated self confidence.”
“Rapid, “pressured” (uninterruptable) and loud speech.”

“Increased energy, with hyperactivity and a decreased need for sleep.”


“People experiencing hypomanic episodes are often quite pleasant to be around. They can often seem like the “life of the party” — making jokes, taking an intense interest in other people and activities, and infecting others with their positive mood.”



“What’s so bad about that, you might ask? Hypomania can also lead to erratic and unhealthy behavior. Hypomanic episodes can sometimes progress onward to full manias that affect a person’s ability to function (bipolar I disorder). In mania, people might spend money they don’t have, seek out sex with people they normally wouldn’t, and engage in other impulsive or risky behaviors with the potential for dangerous consequences.”




“The vast majority of people with bipolar II disorder experience more time with depressive than hypomanic symptoms. Depressions can occur soon after hypomania subsides, or much later. Some people cycle back and forth between hypomania and depression, while others have long periods of normal mood in between episodes.”

“Untreated, an episode of hypomania can last anywhere from a few days to several months. Most commonly, symptoms continue for a few weeks to a few months.”

“Depressive episodes in bipolar II disorder are similar to “regular” clinical depression, with depressed mood, loss of pleasure, low energy and activity, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide. Depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder can last weeks, months, or rarely years.”


Source: Bipolar II Disorder

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Bipolar Disorder and Foods to Avoid

Bipolar Disorder and Foods to Avoid

“If you or a loved has bipolar disorder, you know how important it is to manage mood episodes with bipolar medications and healthy lifestyle habits. But did you also know that certain foods and dietary supplements might play a role in helping — or hindering — people with bipolar disorder.”



There is no specific bipolar diet. Nevertheless, it is important to make wise dietary choices that will help you maintain a healthy weight and stay well. These choices include:”


“Avoiding the “Western” style diet that’s rich in red meats, saturated fats and trans fats, and simple carbohydrates. This eating style is linked to a higher risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Eating less saturated fats and simple carbohydrates can help overall health but does not directly affect the symptoms of bipolar disorder.”


“Eating a balance of protective, nutrient-dense foods. These foods include fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean meats, cold-water fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, soy products, and nuts and seeds. These foods provide the levels of nutrients necessary to maintain good health and prevent disease, in general.”

“Watching caloric intake and exercising regularly to maintain a healthy weight. Some findings show that those with bipolar disorder may have a greater risk for being overweight or obese. Talk to your doctor about ways to avoid weight gain when taking bipolar medications.”




Does Fish Oil Improve Mood With Bipolar Disorder?

“The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fatty fish at least two times a week. Good choices include:”

  • Albacore tuna
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Trout







“If you do not like fish, the AHA recommends taking 0.5 to 1.8 grams of fish oil per day as supplements. That way you will get enough dietary omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA).”

“Fish oil can help keep your heart healthy. But some experts also believe that fish oil might play a role in brain function and behavior. While studies of omega-3 fatty acids for mood symptoms are not conclusive, some experts believe that they may be helpful in some people with bipolar disorder, particularly if they have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease or high triglycerides.”



“Some research suggests that getting more omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil is linked to greater volume in areas of the brain. In particular, these areas are related to mood and behavior. In one study of 75 patients, one of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids was decreasing depression in bipolar disorder.”


Which Foods Should I Avoid if I Have Bipolar Disorder?

Some general dietary recommendations for treating bipolar disorder include:

“Getting only moderate amounts of caffeine and not stopping caffeine use abruptly.”

“Avoiding high-fat meals to lower the risk for obesity.”


“Watching your salt if you have high blood pressure but not skimping on salt if you are being prescribed lithium (low salt intake can cause higher levels of lithium in the blood).”

“Following your doctor’s instructions to stay away from foods that may affect your specific bipolar medication, if any.”



“In addition, you need to be wary of natural dietary supplements that can cause a drug-herb interaction.”




“Avoiding too much caffeine may be helpful for getting good sleep, which is especially important for people with bipolar disorder. When someone with bipolar disorder is feeling depressed, extra caffeine may temporarily cause a boost in energy, and possibly mood. The problem is that caffeine can disrupt sleep. Caffeine can also cause nervousness, heart palpitations, and headaches, worsen high blood pressure, or cause irritation in the stomach or esophagus in people that have acid reflux.”


“In addition to lowering caffeine, it’s important to avoid high-fat meals with some bipolar medications. High-fat meals may delay the time it takes for some bipolar medications to be absorbed into your system. Talk to your doctor about your medications and necessary dietary changes.”



“If you take MAO inhibitors (a certain class of antidepressant that includes Emsam, Nardil, and Parnate), it’s important to avoid tyramine-containing foods. These foods can cause severe hypertension in people taking MAO inhibitors. Some foods high in tyramine are:”

  • Overly ripe bananas and banana peels
  • Tap beer
  • Fermented cheese
  • Aged meats
  • Some wines, such as Chianti
  • Soy sauce in high quantities







“Your doctor can give you a list of foods to avoid if you take these drugs.”

“Also, avoid taking natural dietary supplements if you are taking bipolar medications. Supplements such as St. John’s wort and SAM-e are touted to treat moderate depression. A few studies show benefit for some people with depression. But these natural therapies can interact with antidepressants and other bipolar medications. Discuss any natural dietary supplement with your doctor to make sure it is safe.”
What About Alcohol and Bipolar Disorder?

“Instructions for most psychiatric medications warn users not to drink alcohol, but people with bipolar disorder frequently abuse alcohol and other drugs. The abuse is possibly an attempt to self-medicate or to treat their disturbing mood symptoms, and they may also cause mood symptoms that can mimic those of bipolar disorder.”

“Alcohol is a depressant. That’s why many people use it as a tranquilizer at the end of a hard day or as an assist for tense social situations. While some patients stop drinking when they are depressed, it is more common that someone with bipolar disorder drinks during low moods. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with bipolar disorder are five times more likely to develop alcohol misuse and dependence than the rest of the population.”



“The link between bipolar disorder and substance abuse is well established. Alcohol is a leading trigger of depressive episodes in many people who are vulnerable to depression or bipolar disorder. About 15% of all adults who have a psychiatric illness in any given year also experience a substance use disorder at the same time. Substance use disorders can seriously disrupt efforts to treat bipolar disorder and often may require their own forms of treatment.”



Can I Drink Grapefruit Juice While on Bipolar Drugs?

“Be careful. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice with your bipolar medication. Grapefruit juice may increase the blood levels of many psychiatric medications that are used in bipolar disorder. These include some antidepressants (such as Zoloft or Luvox), the anti-anxiety drug Buspar, certain anticonvulsants (such as Tegretol), some antipsychotics (such as Latuda, Seroquel or Geodon), stimulants (such as Adderall or Dexedrine), and many sedative-hypnotics (benzodiazepines), such as Klonopin, Xanax, Valium, and Ativan, which could cause excessive drowsiness, mental impairment and even toxicity.”



Should I Take Bipolar Medication With or Without Food?

“Each bipolar medication is different. So talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking the first dose. Some bipolar drugs can be taken with or without food. Others (such as Latuda or Geodon) are better absorbed into your system when taken with food or are less effective if taken with food (such as Saphris). Your doctor or pharmacist can pull the latest recommendations on taking the bipolar medication so you can safely take the medicine and get the full benefit of the drug.”




Source: Bipolar Disorder and Foods to Avoid

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – 2

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Every year when it turns fall, I begin to worry about getting depressed. For me, I am affected by SAD every year, mostly in the winter time. And since I live in Florida, my seasonal affective disorder is disrupted by the disappearance of hot temperatures, and hot, humid weather. People hate the humidity here, but for me, it’s like a shield for my skin. I am only 4’10” and weigh 100 lbs. The doctors have always told me I’ll be forever cold because of my petiteness, and there wasn’t much to do for it. Well over the years, I began taking Iron as part of my daily diet and now I do not suffer as bad from being too cold in places such as restaurants and movie theaters. If I am not warm, I am not happy. And I can get into a depressive state very easily. This is why I must control (as much as I can) my internal temperature. 

But as the months draw closer and it becomes winter, I have such a hard time doing almost everything. That’s what it literally feels like. When I wake up and it’s too cold, I won’t be able to get out of bed. Not because I am lazy, no, it is because the winter temperatures and less light during the days, make my psyche turn into feelings of depression. I don’t want to leave the house when it’s winter time compared to other times during the year. In the summer, I love being outside! But the fall and winter strip colors and temperatures from nature and take the happiness I usually receive from the heat.  My SAD is very much controllable. If I really put effort into making sure I dress with all my needed layers and go outside to get natural sun, I can feel less depressed almost instantly. Sometimes when I feel depressed and I look up at the sun and feel the warmth, during the cold, my head will almost feel euphoric for a few moments. Now that is happiness. 

*Now here are some facts about SAD:

1.” Did you know that between 60% and 90% of people with SAD are women? It’s true. If you are a female between 15 and 55, you are more likely to develop SAD. Great, so not only do women have PMS, Menopause, and child labor to worry about, add SAD to the list, too.”
2.” Even though the harsh chill in the air might bring you down, SAD is believed to relate more to daylight, not the temperature. Some experts believe that a lack of sunlight increases the body’s production of a body chemical called melatonin. Melatonin is what helps regulate sleep and can cause symptoms of depression.”
3. “SAD can be treated. If your symptoms are mild, meaning, if they do not interfere in and completely ruin your daily life, light therapy may help you beat SAD. Using light therapy has shown highly effective. Studies prove that between 50% and 80% of light therapy users have complete remissions of symptoms. However, light therapy must be used for a certain amount of time daily and continue throughout the dark, winter months.”
4. “Some say that light therapy has no side effects, but others disagree. We think it simply depends on the person. Some people experience mild side effects, such as headaches, eyestrain, or nausea. However, these light therapy users say that the side effects are temporary and subside with time or reduced light exposure. Most scientists agree that there are no long-term side effects, but remember to consult your physician before any treatment decisions are made.”
5. “There are some things to consider if you want to try light therapy in your home, otherwise you will not receive all the benefits that this type of therapy offers.”

  • When purchasing a light box, do not skimp as far as money is concerned. Buy a larger one so that you will receive enough light to be beneficial.
  • The best time for light therapy is in the early morning. (If used late at night, it could cause insomnia.) So, even if it means waking up earlier, set aside some morning time to relax and use your light box.
  • Many people are not aware of this, but you must have your eyes open and face the light during therapy. Do not stare at the light. That would be silly. Simply face the light, eyes open.

6. “It takes more than just one winter depression to be diagnosed with SAD. Individuals must meet certain criteria:”

  • The symptoms and remission of the systems must have occurred during the last two consecutive years.
  • The seasonal depressive episodes must outnumber the non-seasonal depressive episodes in one’s lifetime.

7. “SAD can be treated with certain medications that increase serotonin levels in the brain. Such medications include antidepressants, such as Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft.”

* I do not believe in any bipolar patients being on anti depressants, but that’s only from knowing what they did to me for so many years, until I got off of them. 
8. “There is actually a device that conducts light therapy and allows you to walk around while treated. The device is called a light visor. Just wear the light visor around your head and complete your daily chores and rituals. A light visor still can potentially have the same side effects as the standard forms of light therapy, so only simple activities, such as watching television, walking, or preparing meals is advised. We do not recommend you operate heavy machinery while wearing a light visor. (You would look pretty silly with it on out in public, anyway.)”
9. “If you have a friend or loved one who suffers from SAD, you can help them tremendously.”

  • Try to spend more time with the person, even though they may not seem to want any company.
  • Help them with their treatment plan.
  • Remind them often that summer is only a season away. Tell them that their sad feelings are only temporary, and they will feel better in no time.
  • Go outside and do something together. Take a walk, or exercise. Get them to spend some time outside in the natural sunlight. Just remember to bundle up!

10. “Although not as common, a second type of seasonal affective disorder known as summer depression can occur in individuals who live in warmer climates. Their depression is related to heat and humidity, rather than light. Winter depression does cause petulance in many cases, but summer depression is known to cause severe violence. So, it could be worse.”
Source: psychcentral.com

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New Seasons can Affect Bipolar Disorder 

New Seasons Affect Bipolar Disorder 


I know that I am definitely one of the millions of people who suffer each season with Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s part of the bipolar disorder. It has to do with our circadian rhythm’s, and how we get depressed from not enough daylight. 

Do you ever feel depressed for no reason during fall and winter months? Did you know that the amount of sun we receive each day does have an affect on our bodies happiness. And those who suffer from a mental illness are much more likely to feel or get depressed. When the sun is out less and less, more darkness is what we observe. So remember to get as much sun as possible by opening blinds, curtains, and letting in light. As well as, going outside more will help with not feeling as depressed. 

Sourceeverydayhealth.com

*Seasonal Affective Disorder Versus Seasonal Bipolar Disorder


“Doctors have long distinguished between seasonal depression and seasonal bipolar disorder. Seasonal depression — commonly referred to as SAD, for seasonal affective disorder — is a mood disorder brought on by the biological effects of a lack of sunlight. Typically experienced in the late fall and winter, it is particularly prevalent in northern regions, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). What distinguishes seasonal bipolar disorder from SAD is the presence of a manic episode within a given period of time.”



“People must have a history of manic or hypomanic episodes (the extreme highs) to be diagnosed with a bipolar mood disorder, explains Ken Duckworth, MD, medical director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and an assistant professor at the Harvard University Medical School. If that’s not part of their medical history, he says, then their seasonal winter response is a depressive disorder and not bipolar.”



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Bipolar and Memory Loss

  

Read the whole article at: Bipolar and Memory Loss

“People with bipolar disorder often report problems with memory and cognition. They have trouble with short- and long-term memory, think things through at subdued speeds, and have difficulty thinking outside that so-called box.”

  
“These memory problems can pose considerable challenges for bipolar patients. One recent study presented the case of a 48-year-old computer programmer who had severe memory problems as one of his bipolar symptoms. His job was at stake because he had difficulty mentally accessing information memorized prior to the onset of his bipolar disorder. He told doctors that he was sure he knew the information, but couldn’t figure out how to get to it. He would eventually remember the information, but it could take hours before it would come to him.”

  
Memory Loss and Bipolar Disorder

“Memory problems in bipolar disorder typically have been considered a side effect of the manic highs and depressive lows of the condition:”

  • Mania. Some studies have shown that memory and cognition problems are at their worst during manic episodes. Patients operating at high speeds due to mania have a hard time encoding new information into their memories and also show difficulty accessing memories.
  • Depression. Other research has revealed that depressive phases also can create problems with memory. “When your mind is preoccupied with negative thoughts about yourself, your world, your future, you aren’t as able to concentrate and [be] in the moment,” says Michael Thase, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia. “If your mind is occupied at one level, there’s less capacity to pay attention and encode and store information.””

  
“More recent research has found that bipolar patients who are between mood swings also have memory problems and other cognitive deficits. That has lead some doctors to question whether mood swings are the real reason patients endure memory loss issues. Other possible explanations include:”

  
“Differences in brain chemistry and function related to bipolar disorder. “It may be that depression causes memory troubles both in a mental way — by occupying your mind — and also in a neurobiological way by inhibiting the connectivity between nerve cells,” Dr. Thase says.”

  
“Side effects of medications prescribed for bipolar symptoms. “You also can have memory problems with several of the more commonly prescribed medications, lithium being the most notorious,” Thase says.”

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Recovery Guideto Anxiety Disorder

  

Get Rid of Your Anxiety“Getting rid of anxiety disorders isn’t the same as taking out the trash. If you take your trash out to the curb, it’s gone forever, and won’t come back. But when you try to dispose of chronic anxiety, you often find that this task is more like the child’s game, “Whack a Mole”, than it’s like taking out the trash. Each time you hit a mole, more moles pop up. Every effort that you make to fight against anxiety, invites more of it.”
“So you need to be able to work smart, not hard, to overcome anxiety disorders. This guide will help you do that.”
  

The Anxiety Trick

“The fears, phobias, and worry that you experience with chronic anxiety disorders often seem “irrational”, and difficult to overcome. That’s because there is a “Trick” to chronic anxiety problems. Have you ever wondered why fears and phobias seem like such difficult problems to solve? The reason is that chronic fears literally trick you into thinking and acting in ways that make the problem more chronic. You can’t learn to float through anxiety disorders if you don’t understand the Anxiety Trick.”

“The outcome of the Anxiety Trick is that people get fooled into trying to solve their anxiety problems with methods that can only make them worse. They get fooled into “putting out fires with gasoline”.”

  

The Key Fears of Anxiety Disorders 

“There are six principal anxiety disorders. The fears are different, but each one relies on the same Anxiety Trick, and draws upon the same kinds of anxiety symptoms.”

“And in each case, the person tries to extinguish the fears by responding in ways that actually make the problem worse and more chronic. Here are the key fears, and typical responses, of the six main anxiety disorders.”

  

Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia

“A person with Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia fears that a panic attack will disable him in some way – kill him, make him crazy, make him faint, and so on. In response, he often goes to great lengths to protect himself from a panic attack, by avoiding ordinary activities and locations; by carrying objects, like water bottles and cell phones, that he hopes will protect him; by trying to distract himself from the subject of panic; and numerous other strategies will ultimately make the problem more persistent and severe, rather than less.”

“The fear of driving is often a part of panic disorder.”

  

Social Anxiety Disorder (or Social Phobia)

“A person with Social Phobia fears becoming so visibly and unreasonably afraid in front of other people that they will judge her as a weak, inadequate person, and no longer associate with her. In response, she often goes to great lengths to avoid social experiences, hoping that this avoidance will save her from embarrassment and public humiliation. However, her avoidance of social situations leads her to become more, rather than less, fearful of them, and also leads to social isolation.”

“The fear of public speaking, and the broader fear of stage fright are considered to be specific instances of Social Phobia.”

  
Specific Phobia

“A Specific Phobia is a pattern of excessive fear of some ordinary object, situation, or activity. A person with a fear of dogs, for instance, may fear that a dog will attack him; or he may be afraid that he will “lose his mind”, or run into heavy traffic, on encountering a dog.”

“People with phobias usually try to avoid what they fear. Unfortunately, this often creates greater problems for them. Not only do they continue to fear the object, but the avoidance restricts their freedom to enjoy life as they would see fit.”

“A specific phobia is usually distinguished from Panic Disorder by its narrow focus. A person with a fear of flying who has no fear of other enclosed spaces would likely be considered to have a specific phobia. A person who fears airplanes, elevators, tunnels, and bridges is usually considered to have Panic Disorder or claustrophobia. However, the fear of public speaking is usually considered to be a part of Social Phobia.”
“A person with a Blood Phobia may fear a variety of situations, but they all involve the prospect of seeing blood. A person with a fear of vomiting (either fearing that they will vomit, or that that they’ll see someone else vomit) would be considered to have Emetophobia. The official definitions of some of these disorders will change in 2013, so don’t get preoccupied with the label.”

“Whether you have one or multiple phobias, these are very treatable conditions.”

  
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

“A person with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder experiences intrusive, unwelcome thoughts (called obsessions) which are so persistent and upsetting that he fears the thoughts might not stop.”

“In response, he tries to stop having those thoughts with a variety of efforts (called compulsions). Unfortunately, the compulsions usually become a severe, upsetting problem themselves.”

“For example, a man may have obsessive thoughts that he might pass swine flu on to his children, even though he doesn’t have the flu himself, and wash his hands repetitively in an effort to get rid of that thought. Or a woman may have obsessive thoughts that she left the garage door open, and repeatedly check the garage all night in an effort to stop thinking that. Not only do these efforts fail to rid the person of the unwelcome thoughts, they become a new form of torment in that person’s life.”

  
Generalized Anxiety Disorder

“A person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder worries repeatedly and continually about a wide variety of possible problems, and becomes so consumed by worry that she fears the worry will eventually kill her or drive her to a “nervous breakdown”. In response, she often tries a wide variety of “thought control” methods she hopes will enable her to “stop thinking about it.” Distraction is one such effort. Unfortunately, the effort to stop thinking about it actually makes the worrisome thoughts more persistent.”

  
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

“A person who has witnessed or experienced some dangerous or life threatening event (a shooting or a car crash) fears that the subsequent thoughts and powerful reminders of that event will lead to a loss of control or mental illness. The powerful symptoms of fear and upset a person experiences when recalling a terrible event are reactions to that event. However, the person gets tricked into responding to these reactions as if they were warnings of an upcoming danger, rather than reminders of a past on.”

  

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If you don’t already know, I am a bipolar woman writing about mental illnesses, mental health, and mainly focusing on bipolar disorder. My posts are informative, captivating and enthralling. I always try to keep the mood light and words positive. My writing comes from the heart, and it is all for the education of others, concerning all things mental health. Being bipolar has limited me from living a normal life, like I once did, years ago. My main goal is to celebrate my journey of living with bipolar disorder and learn to embrace the positive aspects that come from being bipolar. I hope that my blog keeps you interested, and that you learn some facts, and guidance to help others in need, because awareness is key. That is my mantra, I always have it playing in the back of my mind when I write. I want all those who are suffering, and their friends and family to learn about what this illness does to a person and how much willpower it takes to become a survivor, like me. It has taken me close to a decade to become the stable individual that I know I can be. I hope you are moved by all the help I try to give and the pertinent information that is enclosed.

Please Donate Today! Your money will be going towards benefiting someone desperately in need of help. Thank you, so very much. God Bless.

-Gentry

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